WORLD AIDS DAY – 1st December 2012

When you work in some African countries you get used to hearing about the devastating affects of HIV/AIDS. Very few familes are not touched by death and illness from HIV/AIDS. I was sat at lunch during a workshop in Kadoma, Zimbabwe and the two people I was having lunch with were affected . One had lost both parents to AIDS and the other , from a big family, where 4 out of the 10 of his brothers and sisters in his family had died of AIDS.

While walking through a village in Uganda there was no one alive between the ages of 18-40 and grandparents were the only ones left looking after their grandchildren.

world-aids-dayalso I remember people being infected by HIV  in Guyana through visiting a hospital and being given untested and untreated blood products. The hospital could not afford the ‘less than a dollar’ testing strips.

In several countries the teaching force has been decimated by  AIDS, losing experienced and trained teachers and being replaced by untrained teachers.

So although WORLD AIDS DAY 2012 has a slogan   -“Getting to zero: zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths” we still have some way to go.

From WHO:

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that infects cells of the immune system, destroying or impairing their function. As the infection progresses, the immune system becomes weaker, and the person becomes more susceptible to infections. The most advanced stage of HIV infection is acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). It can take 10-15 years for an HIV-infected person to develop AIDS; antiretroviral drugs can slow down the process even further.

HIV is transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse (anal or vaginal), transfusion of contaminated blood, sharing of contaminated needles, and between a mother and her infant during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.


Some more facts and links from the site for World Aids Day

Why is World AIDS Day important?

Around 100,000 are currently living with HIV in the UK and globally an estimated 34 million people have HIV. More than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007 have died from the virus, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

Today, many scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition. But despite this, people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others from HIV, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with HIV. World AIDS Day is important as it reminds the public and Government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.

What should I do on World AIDS Day?

World AIDS Day is an opportunity for you to learn the facts about HIV and put your knowledge into action. Find out how much you know by taking our online quiz: Are you HIV aware? Test your knowledge and awareness by taking the quiz and act aware by passing the quiz on and sharing it with your friends on Twitter and Facebook.

If you understand how HIV is transmitted, how it can be prevented, and the reality of living with HIV today – you can use this knowledge to take care of your own health and the health of others, and ensure you treat everyone living with HIV fairly, and with respect and understanding. Click here to find out the facts.

You can also show your support for people living with HIV on World AIDS Day by wearing a red ribbon, the international symbol of HIV awareness.

World AIDS Day is also a great opportunity to raise money for NAT (National AIDS Trust) and show your support for people living with HIV. If you feel inspired to hold an event, bake sale or simply sell red ribbons, click here to get started. If you’d like to see what other events are taking place — click here and find out more.

But what about after World AIDS Day?

Although World AIDS Day is a great opportunity to get the public talking about HIV and fundraise, we need to remember the importance of raising awareness of HIV all year round. That’s why NAT has launched HIVaware — a fun, interactive new website which provides all the information everyone should know about HIV. Why not use what you have learnt on World AIDS Day to Act Aware throughout the year and remember, you can fundraise at any time of year too — NAT is always here to give you suggestions and ideas.


What we may miss in the future – INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS


Indigenous people worldwide are fighting to maintain some vestige of pride in their indigenous knowledge and skills as ‘modern’ society sweeps away or misappropriates their history and achievements. Most societies are now living with a series of inward and outward migrations which change the cultural and social fabric of a country, often for the better as more people become aware of cultural practices that enhance the complex fabric of society, but sometimes for the worse as we ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’ and ignore, or even worse, denigrate ‘minority’ cultures, knowledge skills and practices. Our textbooks for example simplify , unconsciously forget and often ignore social, cultural and first nation groups and social media seem to provide an open space for narrow minded, prejudiced and  racist commentators to run roughshod over the feelings of others.


Shuar poet Maria Clara Sharupi Jua

It is necessary, for educators, to take a little time to remember that for sustainable development we need to educate ourselves on the achievements of indigenous peoples so as to learn how to manage the environment and build cultural complexity for the benefits of the next generation.


The information below is taken from Cultural Survival:

November is National Native American Heritage Month. November 23 is Native American Heritage Day.
“As the first people to live on the land we all cherish, American Indians and Alaska Natives have profoundly shaped our country’s character and our cultural heritage. Today, Native Americans are leaders in every aspect of our society — from the classroom, to the boardroom, to the battlefield. This month, we celebrate and honor the many ways American Indians and Alaska Natives have enriched our Nation, and we renew our commitment to respecting each tribe’s identity while ensuring equal opportunity to pursue the American dream.”  — Presidential Proclamation

1. Challenge stereotypes and misappropriation of Native people’s cultures.

Recently Urban Outfitters, the Gap, Paul Frank, Victoria’s Secret, and No Doubt were educated about the dangers of misappropriations of Native people’s cultures. Read “A Much-Needed Primer on Cultural Appropriation” and start a discussion among your contacts in person and via social networks.

2.  Learn about violence against Native womenClick here.

Learn what you can do to stop it by supporting Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011.

3. Support Indigenous language revitalization efforts.

President Obama signed an Executive Order to expand educational opportunities for Native American students. It aims to preserve Native languages, cultures, and histories while offering a competitive education that prepares young people to succeed in college and careers. Learn about Native language revitalization efforts around the country, visit 

4. Support Indigenous Peoples’ rights to self-determination and tribal sovereignty.
Learn about the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and share it widely.


Global Education Conference

This is a good way to attend a conference without moving out of your chair -less polluting too!

The 2012 Global Education Conference starts today and runs for five days, 24 hours a day. We invite you to join us for this free, collaborative, world-wide community initiative involving students, educators, and organizations at all levels. The conference is designed to significantly increase opportunities for building education-related connections around the globe while supporting cultural awareness and recognition of diversity.

Dr. Tony Wagner from Harvard kicks off the conference today at 10:00am US-Eastern Time, and we have an amazing set of keynote speakers and hundreds of educator-led concurrent sessions. You can see the full conference schedule in your own time zone at



Visit The Future of Education at:


Universal Children’s Day = 20th November 2012

Universal Children’s Day takes place annually on November 20th. First proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1954, it was established to encourage all countries to institute a day, firstly to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children and secondly to initiate action to benefit and promote the welfare of the world’s children. It was also chosen as the day to celebrate childhood.

November 20 is also the anniversary of the day when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1956. Convention on the Rights of the Child was then signed on the same day in 1989, which has since been ratified by 191 states.

Despite this worldwide consensus on the importance of our children, 70% of the approximately 11 million child deaths every year are attributable to six potentially preventable causes: diarrhoea, malaria, neonatal infection, pneumonia, preterm delivery, or lack of oxygen at birth. These deaths occur mainly in the developing world. An Ethiopian child is 30 times more likely to die by his or her fifth birthday than a child in Western Europe. Among deaths of children, South-central Asia has the highest number of newborn deaths, while sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rates.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic is taking a huge toll on children, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. The number of children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS is projected to reach 25 million by the end of the decade, 18 million of them in sub-Saharan Africa. This, along with only modest progress fighting malaria, means the threats facing child survival are as grave as ever.

Sources: UN Dag Hammarskjöld Library, UNICEF

Resource links listed by HREA
Selected learning materials

Study Guide on the Human Rights of Children and Youth (HREA)

Conversation about child labour and the right to education with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education (15 June 2005)

Children’s Rights Here and Now (Amnesty International-USA)

Fields of Hope: Educational Activities on Child Labor. Teacher’s Guide

“How to Protect Human Rights?” Lesson Plan: Children’s Rights in the UN System of Human Rights Protection (Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Poland)

Raising Children With Roots, Rights & Responsibilities: Celebrating the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (USA)

Teaching for Human Rights: Pre-school and Grades 1-4

Teaching for Human Rights: Grades 5-10

International treaties on children’s rights:

– Convention on the Rights of the Child

– Simplified version of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

– Declaration of the Rights of the Child

– African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

– ILO Convention (No. 138) concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment

– ILO Convention (No. 182) concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor

– Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict

– ptional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

Useful links

Right to Education Project

International Labour Organization (ILO) on Child Labour

Child Rights Information Network (CRIN)

Organisations that promote and protect the rights of children & youth


Racism – on the internet

Being in education it is disappointing that the racism that we have been trying to eradicate through knowledge, understanding and a belief in human rights,is still overtly raising its ugly head.

The recent speech by the UN special rapporteur on Racism does not provide an optimistic scenario – when will our brains evolve so that we look to the future rather than carrying the baggage of the past!

NEW YORK (5 November 2012) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Racism, Mutuma Ruteere, called for greater cooperation between States, international bodies, private sector, civil society and local communities in against the promotion of racial, ethnic and xenophobic hatred on the Internet, and by extremist political parties, movements and groups.

In his first address to the UN General Assembly, Mr. Ruteere presented two key reports* respectively on Racism and the Internet, and the challenges posed by extremist political parties, movements and groups.

Racism on the Internet

The increase of extremist hate websites, the use of the Internet and social media by extremist groups and individuals to propagate hate speech and incite racial violence, and the increased number of incidents of racist violence and crimes prompted by racist content on the Internet remain to be address, despite the adoption of positive measures,” the human rights expert said.

The Special Rapporteur highlighted that combating racism on the Internet requires a comprehensive and cohesive approach developed through dialogue and consultation amongst different actors, including governments, civil society organisations, Internet service providers and the private sector in general.

In his view, States should adopt legislative measures and further examine the link between various manifestations of racism on the Internet and hate crimes committed. “Additional measures such as self- and co-regulatory initiatives developed by service providers and other relevant actors may also be useful in making efforts more effective,” Mr. Ruteere said.

I believe that a possible way of countering racism on the Internet is through content diversification, in particular by promoting local content,” the expert said, inviting States to adopt concrete policies and strategies to make the Internet widely accessible and affordable to all. “Education about racist content on the Internet and awareness raising measures are also important tools.”

Mr. Ruteere emphasized, however, that any measures taken to counter racism on the Internet should comply with international human rights law and should not unduly limit the right to freedom of expression and opinion.

Any restrictions, control and censorship of the content disseminated via the Internet should be done on a clearly defined legal basis and in a manner that is necessary, proportionate and compatible with States’ international human rights obligations including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,” he stated.

Extremist political parties, movements and groups

A comprehensive approach based on a solid legal framework is essential,” the Special Rapporteur said while recalling that legislation has been adopted specifically to address the challenges posed by extremist political parties, movements and groups, and encouraging States to close gaps by adopting the necessary legislation.

The expert urged world governments to guarantee the right to security and access to justice without discrimination to vulnerable groups who are victims of racist and xenophobic attacks by extremist groups or individuals.

“Complementary measures should be implemented to tackle extremist political parties, movements and groups,” Mr. Ruteere said. He encouraged States to strengthen the implementation of awareness raising activities aimed at fostering tolerance, to sensitize youth on the dangers of ideologies and activities of extremist political parties, movements and groups, and to strengthen State agents’ capacity to address racist crimes through human rights trainings.

Cooperation with all the relevant actors, including civil society, is crucial to effectively prevent the rise and dissemination of extremist ideologies based on racial superiority,” the Special Rapporteur stressed, recalling the responsibility of political leaders and parties in condemning and refraining from disseminating messages that scapegoat vulnerable groups and incite racial discrimination, and highlighted the key role that media can play in fighting racism and intolerance.

Mr. Mutuma Ruteere (Kenya) was designated by the Human Rights Council as Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in October 2011. He is independent from any government or organization and serves in his individual capacity. Learn more, log on to:

(*) Check the reports:
Racism on the Internet: or
Extremist political parties, movements and groups: or

World Science Day for Peace and Development -10th November 2012

World Science Day for Peace and Development -10th November 2012
From my experience, school science is still poorly taught in many countries. Some of this is down to poor or little training for teachers, particularly at primary level where attitudes towards science are going to be developed.
The second reason may be due to a lack of importance in Teacher Education for science particularly for primary and thirdly a lack of resources, as some will think that you can only teach science in a laboratory.
I remember working in Timor Leste, where the teachers had no training and had absolutely no resources, but by the time they were given just a few days of training with the emphasis on using local , no cost or low cost materials, their classrooms were crammed full of exciting science experiments and visual aids.
So science can be well taught giving rise to  attitudes that will protect their health as well as contribute to community development, which in turn can ensure peace.
So it is worth focusing on the positive attitudes to science and science learning for at least one day and then follow up for the rest of the year.
“2012 must be a turning point towards green societies, built on the inclusive and equitable development of science to the benefit of all. This is our message for the 2011 World Science Day for Peace and Development.”

Message from Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO
on the occasion of the World Science Day for Peace and Development
10 November 2011

Proclaimed by the UNESCO General Conference (Resolution 31C/ 20) in 2001, the World Science Day for Peace and Development is an annual event celebrated all over the world to recall the commitment made at the UNESCO-ICSU World Conference on Science (Budapest 1999).

The purpose of the World Science Day for Peace and Development is to renew the national, as well as the international commitment to science for peace and development and to stress the responsible use of science for the benefit of society. The World Science Day for Peace and Development also aims at raising public awareness of the importance of science and to bridge the gap between science and societies.

Science for global sustainability: interconnectedness, collaboration, transformation: such is the theme of this year’s edition of World Science Day for Peace and Development, which UNESCO is celebrating around the world on 10 November.

This theme provides an opportunity to shine the spotlight on the role that science, technology and innovation (STI) – and related national, regional and international policies – play in promoting global sustainability and peace.

World Science Day also offers an opportunity to follow up the Rio+20 outcomes, based on the recommendations in the report of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability, entitled Resilient People, Resilient Planet: a future Worth Choosing.

International Week of Science and Peace

The International Week of Science and Peace was first observed during 1986 as part of the observance of the International Year of Peace. The organization of events and activities for the week was undertaken as a non-governmental initiative; the secretariat for the International Year of Peace was informed of the preparatory activities and the final summary of events that occurred during the week. The organizers sought to encourage the broadest possible international participation in the observance.

Based on the success of the 1986 observance, the organizers continued their efforts in successive years. In recognition of the value of the annual observance, the General Assembly adopted resolution 43/61 in December 1988, which proclaims the “International Week of Science and Peace”, to take place each year during the week in which 11 November falls. The General Assembly urged Member States and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to encourage relevant institutions, associations and individuals to sponsor events and activities related to the study and dissemination of information on the links between progress in science and technology and maintenance of peace and security; urged Member States to promote international co-operation among scientists and required the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly as its forty-fifth session on the activities and initiatives of Member States and interested organizations in connection with the week.

The annual observance of the International Week of Science and Peace is making an important contribution to the promotion of peace. The Week encourages greater academic exchanges on a subject of universal importance while also generating greater awareness of the relationship of science and peace among the general public. Based on observances of Science and Peace Week to date, it may be expected that participation each year will increase, contributing to greater international understanding and opportunities for co-operation in the applications of science for the promotion of peace throughout the year.